Don Booksmart (This Week’s Movies)


Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein: Booksmart (Annapurna Pictures)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald, and etc.

Booksmart. “Wilde keeps the film on track but shrewdly makes room for these weird little syncopated diversions.”

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. “For at least the first hour it’s wild fun, fueled by Gilliam’s exuberance and a terrifically funny performance by Adam Driver.”

For Scarecrow Video’s blog, I contribute a piece on Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and recall the time I interviewed the Python. Read it here.


Movie Diary 5/22/2019

The Souvenir (Joanna Hogg, 2019). An elliptically-told account of a mostly ill-advised romance between a young film student (Honor Swinton Byrne, Tilda Swinton’s daughter) and an older, not-very-responsible man (Tom Burke) in the 80s. The film’s soft visual texture and lack of cell phones is strangely comforting, no matter the sometimes harsh events of the story. (full review 5/31)

Movie Diary 5/21/2019

Booksmart (Olivia Wilde, 2019). Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever lead a bright cast in a movie that, whether you know it or not, is what you need right now. Seriously, this is a fun thing, bound to be quoted for years to come. (full review 5/23)

Movie Diary 5/20/2019

Late Night (Nisha Ganatra, 2019). Emma Thompson as a veteran talk-show host being forced out of her job, Mindy Kaling as the new writer bringing the show into the present day. A good ration of pleasant TV-style banter here, delivered with crack timing. Somewhere along the line somebody decided the third act needed higher stakes, or some bullshit like that, which is too bad. (full review 6/7)

Remember the Night (Mitchell Leisen, 1940). A long-overdue re-visit to an unusual film. The set-up comes from screenwriter Preston Sturges: Prosecutor Fred MacMurray takes accused (and guilty) shoplifter Barbara Stanwyck to his small-town home for the Christmas holiday. The elegant gentleness of Leisen’s directing makes an interesting match with Sturges’ livelier ideas, and Stanwyck makes you believe the unlikely situation.

Wick SIFF (This Week’s Movies)


Keanu Reeves: John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum (Lionsgate)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald, and etc.

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum. “I’ve always liked the fact that Reeves doesn’t look like he pumps a lot of iron to get into the role; it makes John Wick’s skill-set all the more otherworldly.”

And a SIFF preview.

No Scarecrow blog post this week. Thanks to those who attended the first semester of Scarecrow Academy. We’ll be back.


Movie Diary 5/14/2019

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum (Chad Stahelski, 2019). The fighting is very good, we’re knee-deep in weird-ass lore, and Keanu Reeves still looks cheerfully non-buff for an alleged super-killer. The formula is wearing itself out, and this one goes too long, but you can’t complain too much about supporting roles for Mark Dacascos, Anjelica Huston, and Halle Berry, nor the colorful palette. There’s also more than one dog. (full review 5/17)

Movie Diary 5/13/2019

Blinded by the Light (Gurinder Chanda, 2019). Might be critic-proof, this one, in a good way. All about a teen in 80s England (the backwater of Luton, to be exact) who finds his voice and his way out of Thatcher’s sour Britain through his discovery of Bruce Springsteen. Lots of music, lots of joyous/defiant dancing around to Bruce, no stinting on the racist atmosphere the hero must endure. It’s from the director of Bend It Like Beckham. I’m not sure I believed a great deal of it, except on the emotional level, but there was a pleasing sense throughout that the boy at the heart of the story might have made the exact film we’re watching – when he was 17. (Shows in the Seattle International Film Festival)